‘Freeze not throw away’ this Food Safety Week

Published: 4th July 2016

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is supporting this year’s Food Safety Week (4th-10th July), with the aim of helping people better understand how to waste less food safely, by making more use of their freezers.

New research from the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has revealed that 68% of UK adults report that they have thrown food away in the past month.

Over two thirds (36%) of those who had thrown away food said they have discarded food as it was past its use by date. Other top reasons for throwing food away include buying too much and not eating it, which was reported by 30% of people; and not having the chance to eat food before it went off, which almost a quarter (23%) gave as an excuse for putting food in the bin. This contributes to the seven million tonnes of food that is wasted in the UK each year which, according to the Love Food, Hate Waste campaign, costs each household around £470 annually.

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is backing the FSA’s campaign to encourage residents here and across the UK to help tackle the problem of food waste by planning ahead and if necessary, to freeze  food within its use by date if there is a chance you may end up throwing it away once the use-by date expires.

Kevin Hargin, head of Foodborne Disease Control at the FSA said:

“Every year, we throw away seven million tonnes of food and drink from our homes. Much of this waste is unnecessary, and a better understanding of how to freeze food safely could go a significant way towards tackling the problem. Our research shows that many of the fears the public has about freezing food are unfounded and we need to ensure they know the facts. 31% of the people we spoke to said that more information about how to safely freeze food would help them to reduce their food waste – that’s why freezing is the focus of this year’s Food Safety Week”.

Mrs Fiona Douglas, Head of Environmental Health, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, said:

“Lots of people believe food can only be frozen on the day of purchase, but the freezer is like a pause button and you can safely freeze most foods right up to the use by date. You can even cook defrosted meat into a new meal and freeze it to eat on another day. With so much food being thrown away in the UK each year, we want Fermanagh and Omagh District Council residents to think about how they can use their freezers to their full potential, rather than putting food in the bin.

While food is kept safe in the freezer, it’s the quality that deteriorates over time, so the FSA recommends eating it within three to six months and checking for any freezing instructions on the packaging. Once defrosted, the pause button is off, so defrost food as and when you need it and eat it within 24 hours of it being fully defrosted.”

For more information on freezing food safely, visit www.food.gov.uk/useby or follow @foodgov #EatitCookitFreezeit on Twitter for tips and advice throughout Food Safety Week.


Notes to editors:

  1. The research was carried out by TNS BMRB from 12th-19th May 2016. It involved online interviews with 1,500 UK adults.
  2. The statistic on the amount of food thrown away from UK homes is taken from Love Food Hate Waste’s facts about food waste http://www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/node/2472.
  3. The theme for Food Safety Week 2016 is ‘Eat it, cook it, freeze it’.
  4. Full results from the FSA research can be found here: food.gov.uk/sites/default/files/food-waste-survey.pdf



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